A Tale of Two Butters

We take our peanut butter seriously in this house. The Monkey is nuts for peanut butter – he eats it almost daily, and it’s probably his main form of protein. I eat it several times a week too. If you’re familiar with this blog, you probably know that I’ve blogged about this before back during the peanut scare of 2009.

What I don’t think I’ve mentioned here is my recent on-a-whim reading of Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. The book both confirmed a lot of things I had been feeling about food, as well as provided me with a springboard from which to make some changes to the way we eat. One of the larger points that Pollan makes* – a point that researchers have been making for years as well – is that we need to avoid the processed foods that we find in those inner aisles at the store – we need to eat food, not a product.

All this makes you really look at what you’re eating. Which we should do – Americans (and I’d venture to say, most that live in first world countries) are so disconnected from our food…and we consume SO MUCH SUGAR. And why is this? Well, it’s in everything in those inner aisles. Just look – corn syrup is in EVERYTHING. I don’t want to eat a product – I want food, in the freshest, tastiest way possible.

So we’re making some changes on Awesome Avenue. And among the first things I had to examine was our peanut butter.

I had been scared of “natural” peanut butter. All that oily separation! Would it be gritty? But after really looking at the standard jar of non-natural peanut butter – I don’t want to eat it! I want peanut butter – not peanuts and a lot of other stuff.

So we took the plunge with natural peanut butter – and it passed the test with flying colors. Even with my picky Monkey, who HATED soy butter. Natural peanut butter tastes like – guess what? – PEANUTS. It’s not really gritty at all, and the oily separation improves with refrigeration and stirring. We’re happy with it.

Now, you’re wondering about the two butters. Well, my mom recently got a great deal on almond butter, and bought a large jar for us to try. I haven’t tested it on The Monkey, and I don’t know how he will feel about it. As far as texture goes, it’s very similar. However, the almond butter does not have salt – which is fine – and has the mild sweetness of almonds. It’s a difference I appreciate, but I don’t know how it will go over with The Monkey. If you’re interested in expanding your nut butter perspective, I definitely recommend giving it a try.

*Pollan’s book is not just about how we shop at the store. He also goes into how the food “industry” has grown and changed just in the last 50-60 years; how nutritionism has caused us to focus on nutrients without looking at the “Big Picture”, thus vilifying and then later, redeeming, foods like eggs and butter. He also mentions that while organics are better, but we really need to be focusing on getting our food locally, either by supporting a CSA or farmers’ market, or growing the food ourselves, both for our own health (nutrients are lost in transit) as well as the obvious environmental reasons. Much of this is not so much new information, but it’s presented in a way that really hits home. Just read it.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Angelle on April 29, 2010 at 10:27 am

    I bought almond butter but haven’t tried it with the kids yet. I enjoyed it on toast with honey the other day.


  2. I’ve been using almond butter for a while and have found that my kids enjoy it. Our health food store also has a “grind your own” option that they think it fun because they watch the peanuts turn into butter.


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